Crusaid to expand recruit base

Aids charity Crusaid plans to recruit supporters outside the gay community to raise funds for its new international programme.

Best known for its high-profile celebrity fundraising events, Crusaid started setting up an HIV clinic in Guguletu near Cape Town last year using a substantial legacy donation. The new campaign is the first step in establishing a regular income to develop and maintain the project.

A direct mail campaign, looking to raise ?xA3;36,000, will target women over 35 who have an interest in global and development issues. It follows a successful test mailing in February.

"This campaign is raising money to prevent the mother-to-child transmission of HIV and we believe that this is a relevant and emotive message for this donor group,

said Alison Heyes, appeals manager at the charity.

Crusaid receives strong support from the gay community for its domestic fundraising campaigns including The National Hardship Fund, which has so far awarded more than 35,000 grants to 11,000 individuals living in poverty as a result of HIV and Aids.

"We're lucky to have a high profile among the gay market, but we're not a well-known brand in the wider market,

explained Heyes.

The charity hopes to retain new supporters through targeted project updates, and plans to roll out further international appeals if the campaign proves successful.

Designed in-house, the mailing is a simple letter from a Crusaid patron that asks the recipient to contribute a monthly donation to help run the clinic in Africa.

"We're hoping to raise funds so that the clinic can function as a centre of expertise, training local doctors to offer combination therapy,

said Heyes. "It would be great if this clinic could become a model for new clinics across southern Africa."

Crusaid will also work with the International HIV/Aids alliance on funding 11 new projects ranging from caring for Aids orphans in Mozambique to Aids education in the Philippines.

Crusaid's UK work will continue to lie at the core of its activities, but the charity intends to expand its international projects and plough one-third of its voluntary income into new overseas prevention programmes and care projects.

In future mailings, supporters will be given a choice to support UK or overseas projects.

"We don't think in terms of individual supporters being more suited to our international or domestic appeals,

said Heyes. "Once we've sparked an initial interest, new donors will become aware of the cross-section of work that we do."

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